It’s been roughly 6 million years since the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way ate its last ‘dinner,’ according to new Hubble observations.
At that time, the black hole swallowed a large clump of infalling gas, causing it to later ‘burp’ out a massive bubble with the weight of two million suns.
Since then, our galaxy has only eaten ‘snacks,’ but the outflow of its last big meal still billows both above and below the galaxy’s center, containing ‘cool’ gas that races through the bubbles at 2 million miles per hour.
WHAT IS A QUASAR?
‘Quasar’ is short for quasi-stellar radio source, which describes the bright centres of distant galaxies.
All galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their cores.
When the inflow of gas and dust to this black hole reaches a certain level, the event can cause a ‘quasar’ to form – a superbright region as the material swirls around the black hole.
They are typically 3,260 light-years across
These regions emit huge amounts of electro-magnetic radiation and can be a trillion times brighter than the sun.